Fine Energy joins the 5PRING Green Innovation Accelerator programme, adopting 5G technology to connect and control wind turbines and industrial machinery
Osmium was developed as a real-time monitoring solution for a fleet of wind turbines that would become obsolete without remote access, control and diagnostic capabilities.
Osmium is a remote internet-connected edge device, enabling a level of control that was previously only possible on-site.
It was developed by Fine Energy, a company specialising in helping organisations reduce energy costs through the ownership and operation of small-scale wind turbines.
As a retrofit solution initially designed for wind turbines, which are often located in remote locations without connectivity, Osmium uses a small internet-connected edge device, providing diagnostic analysis and performance metrics that can be accessed remotely from any browser or mobile device.
Positioned inside the turbine control cabinet, Osmium delivers a level of control previously only possible on-site, helping measure and optimise the turbine’s performance, reduce site visits and extend the asset’s life.
While other monitoring systems may focus on specifics, with Osmium connected industrial systems can produce a rich stream of data.
“Some monitoring systems focus on one element, like temperature,” explained Graham Hygate, Director and founder of Fine Energy.
“Osmium provides very detailed information that you might not consider you could get remotely, with thousands of parameters.”
In remote weather-beaten environments, Osmium is built to withstand the elements and multiple power outages. Without needing to visit the site, engineers and operators can remotely manage controls, maintenance tasks and upgrades through a two-way communication with the installation, saving on energy, equipment downtown and resources.
“As an example, one of our customers wanted his wind turbine to cut out at a lower wind speed than normal,” Graham Hygate said.
“Usually, wind turbines stop at a wind speed of 25 metres per second. However, this site was very turbulent, so he wanted it to stop at 15 metres per second to avoid wear and tear.. We successfully made this change with Osmium.”
As the technology developed, Graham Hygate soon realised that the market for Osmium was not limited to wind turbines, the technology could also provide retrofit internet connectivity and control for a wide range of systems and installations, including water, utilities, transport and manufacturing, where he identified similarities in the equipment used.
“Food processing conveyor belts are run by motors, which are operated by drives, just like the ones you find in wind turbines,” Graham Hygate explained.
“We’re working with a partner to help factory owners monitor the conveyor belts in its factories. So, if a motor needs to speed up, slow down or gets too hot, they can see it all and make the desired adjustments centrally.”
Osmium brings internet connectivity to installations at a fraction of the cost of upgrading or buying new equipment.
A key selling point for Osmium is that it allows operators or businesses to extend asset life and overcome obsolescence.
Working with existing control systems, Osmium brings internet connectivity to installations at a fraction of the cost of upgrading or buying new equipment. According to Graham, the older the equipment, the better, as it’s less likely to be connected to the internet or be constricted by outdated software or service agreements.
“Manufacturers are reluctant to spend a lot of money on connecting their equipment,” he said. “As they could be committed to that one supplier for all future upgrades or servicing costs.”
Fine Energy joins the 5PRING Green Innovation Accelerator programme, adapting 5G technology to connect and control wind turbines in remote locations.
In 2021 Fine Energy was selected to join the 5PRING Green Innovation Accelerator programme, designed to help small businesses develop cutting-edge technologies that reduce carbon emissions using 5G connectivity. 5PRING is part of a programme of strategic projects led by West Midlands 5G (WM5G) to accelerate the benefits of 5G throughout the region.
As the technical lead for the 5PRING Green Innovation Accelerator programme, Digital Catapult supported Fine Energy to refine its 5G use case and technical requirements.
Assisted by Digital Catapult, Fine Energy was able to trial and test 5G services in remote locations, such as the Orkney Islands and access cellular technology facilities, as one of the first users of the WM5G 5G testbed, to test Osmium over the new 5G network standard.
“Having gone through the testbed, we know that we can cope with 5G, bringing internet connectivity to a whole range of installations in any industry where there’s a piece of equipment that can’t connect to the internet,” said Technical Lead Ulf Aberg.
“We now know that we can cover all possible connectivities.”
Through the 5PRING Green Innovation accelerator programme, Fine Energy successfully demonstrated how Osmium could help lower carbon emissions by adapting 5G technology to connect and control wind turbines in remote locations, with the aim to roll-out large numbers of low-cost 5G-enabled monitoring stations.
Fine Energy is growing rapidly, expanding its customer base and technology without the need for external investment. New partnerships include Don Electrical Services in Aberdeen to develop the Osmium solution for factories and a large Italian oil filtration specialist.
“We’re also seeing interest from potential customers in the wind sector, the water sector and the transport sector,” Graham Hygate said.
“Using Osmium, any business which operates electrically powered installations away from its premises can benefit from unlocking the information being created and processed in those remote installations. This could be driven by the need to operate more effectively, reduce costs or comply with regulation.”
Fine Energy was a finalist at the 2021 Digital Catapult Awards, showcasing the best UK technology startups and scaleups that have grown and developed through Digital Catapult’s programmes and innovation activities.
Digital Catapult really pushed things along, encouraged us and made things happen. If we needed additional access to the testbed or anything else, it was done. If you get the opportunity to work with Digital Catapult do take it.Graham Hygate Director and founder of Fine Energy
Now we can act as evangelists for 5G. When 5G really does catch on and take off, we’re ready for it.Graham Hygate Director and founder of Fine Energy.
A retrofit solution initially designed for wind turbines, Osmium uses a small internet-connected edge device to control machinery and produce diagnostic analysis and performance metrics that can be accessed remotely from any browser or mobile device.
One of 15
companies shortlisted for the 2021 Digital Catapult Awards.
now being used in energy & manufacturing sectors